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Register a death

Who can register a death?

The death can be registered by the person sorting out the funeral, which can be:

  • a relative
  • someone present at the death
  • a senior official of the nursing/residential home/hospital where the death took place

Most deaths are registered by a relative. The registrar normally only allows one of the other people to register the death if there are no relatives available.

When and where must a death be registered?

Within 5 days, or 7 days if a coroner is investigating the death. The death must be registered in the district where it happened.

If you can't get to the required office, you can visit your local office and declare. This is known as registration by declaration, which means there can be a delay of up to a week for documents needed for funeral arrangements.

When can I book a registration appointment?

Book online or call us on 0300 111 8001.

What documents will I need when registering a death?

You must take the medical certificate of the cause of death, signed by a doctor unless the coroner is issuing the paperwork.

The below are not essential, however if you have them please also bring the deceased’s:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • NHS Medical Card

What information will I need to give the registrar about the deceased?

You will need to give the following information to the registrar:

  • The date and place of death
  • Their full name and any other names they are known by, or have been known by, including their maiden name
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their last occupation
  • If the deceased is married, widowed or has a formal civil partnership, the full name and occupation of their spouse or civil partner
  • The date of birth of a surviving spouse or civil partner
  • Details of any public sector pension, e.g. civil service, teacher or armed forces.

What do I need to tell the registrar about myself?

You will need to supply the following information about yourself:

  • your relationship to the deceased for example, son, daughter, widow, widower etc.
  • your full name
  • your usual address

What documents will I get from the registrar?

After the information has been recorded into the register the registrar will issue the necessary forms and certificates.

If a post-mortem is not being held, the registrar will give you:

  • A certificate for Burial or Cremation (‘Green Form’) allowing for the body to be buried or for a cremation application to be made. If the deceased is to be buried or cremated outside of England or Wales the coroner will issue the necessary forms,
  • a certificate of Registration of Death (Form BD8) issued for the Benefits Agency.

You can buy one or more death certificates when attending the death registration. Certificates are £12.50.

These are certified copies of the original register entry and will be needed by the executor or administrator when sorting out the deceased persons affairs.

Anything that has to be closed down or claimed will need a certificate.

How do I register a death that happened abroad?

The process of registering a death that happened abroad varies depending on which country the person died in.

For information about deaths that happened abroad, please visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website

How do I register an early release death?

A service is available for families who need to register a death urgently as their culture or religion require them to bury a deceased relative within 24 hours of the death.

Any relative of the deceased who requires this service can use it if they have been issued with a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death by a certifying doctor. Please be aware the death must have occurred in Staffordshire.

To contact the Emergency Registration Service call 07815 827793 between the hours of 9am and 5pm on Saturdays, Sundays or on bank holidays.

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